The ethical protection of genetic information: procedure analysis for psychologists

Kelly Ann Allen, Aideen M. McInerney-Leo, Nicholas Gamble, Gerald Wurf, Christopher Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: New technologies have afforded increased access to genetic testing providing valuable information for individuals and those biologically related. However, the management of such information is challenging for psychologists given the ethical issues that may arise. This paper aims to review the utility of existing ethical standards and current legislation for psychologists when encountering genetic information. 

Method: Current legislation and guidelines involved in the management of genetic information applicable for psychologists is critically reviewed in light of relevant ethical principles. Results: While knowledge of information that has arisen from genetic testing may guide psychological therapy, intervention, and education, psychologists have a responsibility to uphold their ethical obligations in order to meet the needs of their clients and their families and to prevent harm. Outside the domain of ethically approved human research, and specific guidance for trained genetic counsellors in Australia, ethical guidance on the management of human genetic information is not readily available for psychologists.

 Conclusions: Technological advances can be expected to continue to present epistemic dilemmas about the use of genetic material. The implications for future psychological practice is discussed. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Psychologist
Issue number1
Early online date03 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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